Piero Messina’s grave directorial debut “L’attesa” (The Wait), a meticulous if cryptic telling of the meeting of two women of different generations, is Italian art-house melodrama of a high order. It takes on death and life with a straight face attentive to gesture, moment, pause, release, the flicker of thought across the human face, the female face, the face of Juliette Binoche above the other onscreen forces of nature.The pungent luster of the visual style is forbidding, in the bold contemporary Italian fashion of filmmakers like Paolo Sorrentino or Luca Guadagnino, yet for those who study its surfaces, there is breath and wind and wonder in its Sicilian settings and its human shape atop its blunt Christian symbolism. And across Binoche’s features, there is life and time itself. With Lou de Laâge. (Ray Pride)
“L’attesa” opens Friday, June 24 at Siskel.